Field, Eugene and Lucie. "Lucie's Genealogy: Field Family - Virginia Branch, 1635-2010", entry for: "John Field (1726-1774) & Anna Rogers Clark Culpeper County Virginia", (www.luciefield.net, created: 06/25/1998, revised: 11/11/2014).
Hamm, Ruth Bitting, editor. Soldiers of the American Revolution Buried in Illinois, (Illinois State Genealogical Society, 1975).
Harrison, Bruce H. The Family Forest Descendants of Lady Joan Beaufort, (Millisecond Publishing Company, Inc., 2005).
Lewis, James A. Neptune's Militia: The Frigate South Carolina During the American Revolution, (The Kent State University Press, 1999).
Pension Application of Lewis Field S30413
Of all the men of whatever nationality who served on board the frigate South Carolina or were involved with her construction, arming and voyages during her rather brief life at sea, Lewis Field occupies the most unusual position possible - that of an captive-observer who never even came close to walking the decks of the ship-of-war but, from the deck of a British prison transport ship, observed her capture that day off the Capes of the Delaware by three British men-of-war. According to his pension application, "Pension Application of Lewis Field S30413", he and his fellow captives were joyously released from British captivity to patriot forces at Dobbs Ferry, NY on December 31, 1782 when the captured NCOs and enlisted crew and marines of the frigate South Carolina were just beginning their imprisonment on board any of a number of British prison "hulks" moored in Wallabout Bay, NY. The most infamous of these British prison "hulks", the Jersey, would claim an untold number of victims from the frigate South Carolina's crew. Lewis Field would wait over sixty-two years before recording his observations in his pension application at the age of almost eighty-one years old. Yet, he would spend several sentences, containing quite a bit of detail concerning the frigate and even naming her correctly, the South Carolina, in his pension application. He was obviously impressed with this patriot ship-of-war and her fight against the outnumbering elements of the Royal Navy that fateful day. He would record all of this observed detail, witnessed over sixty-two years earlier with eyes still young at that time, in May 1844, before a Justice of the Peace in Ballard County, KY, far from the scene of action where these events occurred. He died the very next year - 1845 - though the date of his actual death is unrecorded as far as the writer of this blog knows.
The writer of this blog has continuously speculated as to the location of Lewis Field's burial place, whether it is in Kentucky, which is where it seems most likely to be, or in Illinois, which seems possible but, not as likely as one located in Kentucky. This piece of speculation is now completely cleared up with the definitive statement of the exact location of the grave of Lewis Field. Yet, at the same moment as the answering of this perplexing question, another issue has arisen and is as much baffling as the first issue of Lewis Field's final resting place. First, this post will address the burial place of Lewis Field and then will lastly address this newest issue concerning the life and observations of Lewis Field on the day that he witnessed the capture of the frigate South Carolina off the capes of the Delaware on December 20, 1782.
Lewis Field's pension application, "Pension Application of Lewis Field S30413", is comprehensive of his life and movements to the point in time that he appeared before Justice of the Peace S.W. Upshaw on May 2, 1844 "...in open Court he being a resident of Ballard County and state of Kentucky aged eighty years and about ten months..." In the post entitled, "A Completely Different, and Chance, Perspective... Lewis Field, Pt. III - More 'Additional Information' on Lewis Field, Kentuckian", dated "01/11/2016", and located two dated posts below this current post, there is the rather lengthy recitation in the form a single, run-on sentence of the exact movements that Lewis Field can recall having made since he removed to Kentucky from Culpeper County, VA beginning in March 1784 after the cessation of hostilities between the new United States and Great Britain. Beginning in 1784, Lewis Field removed to Jefferson County, KY in the area of present-day Louisville, KY. He would remain there until 1811 when he removed to Henry County, KY. Lewis Field would reside there until 1826 when he left the state of Kentucky for Pope County, IL. He would live in Pope County, IL until 1834 when he chose to return to Kentucky, taking up residence in McCracken County, KY in the extreme western portion of the state. He still resided there on May 2, 1844 when he appeared before the Justice of the Peace S.W. Upshaw to file for his pension from the United States of America. By the time he filed for his pension, the portion of the county in which he resided had been "stricken" from McCracken County and had been named Ballard County, KY. Hence, his appearance before a Justice of the Peace for Ballard County, KY rather than McCracken County, KY. Through sixty years of moving his residence, Lewis Field moved within the state of Kentucky for fifty-two of those years, living only eight years outside the state of Kentucky in the state of Illinois.
Between 1784 and 1844, Lewis Field only lived once outside of the state of Kentucky - in Illinois. The actual location of his residence in Illinois is unknown to the writer of this blog but, according to his pension application, "Pension Application of Lewis Field S30413", it is known that he resided in Pope County, IL for the period of time between approximately 1826 and 1834. The reader would assume from the amount of time Lewis Field spent in Kentucky that he had come to love his adopted state and was buried there at the end of his life. But, according to Hamm's work, Soldiers of the American Revolution Buried in Illinois, page 73, evidence has surfaced that he was actually buried in Illinois, just across the Ohio River from Kentucky. The information presented below is cited here exactly as it appears in the source - in list form rather than table form. The information is as follows:
Lewis Field -
Born: July 4, 1763 at Culpeper County, Virginia
Buried: Golconda, Pope County, Illinois
Spouse: Hannah Lewis
Service: Private, Virginia. He was a Scout under Col. George Rogers Clark and was taken prisoner.
Sources: DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution)
Pension (Records are in the National Archives)
PI (Daughters of the American Revolution Patriot Index, 1966)
(Note: The final citation entitled "Sources" contains the three source citations for Lewis Field as recorded above. Each of these sources has a lengthy amount of recorded information cited after the abbreviated reference listed above. The writer of this blog has felt it necessary to limit the amount of information conveyed here to make better use of space and, hopefully, to help avoid any undue confusion from too much information being provided. But, the complete recitation of information can be found in Hamm's work, Soldiers of the American Revolution Buried in Illinois, pages 273-274.)
For several reasons that will be stated in this section of this post, the information cited immediately above indicates beyond a shadow of a doubt that this is the same Lewis Field be referenced in this specific post and overall blog. In cross-referencing with the pension application of Lewis Field, "Pension Application of Lewis Field S30413", the exact birth date and birth place are repeated in the information given for Lewis Field above. The pension application indicates that Lewis Field did indeed enlist as a private in Virginia and that he was taken prisoner by the British. He refers to having lived in Pope County, IL between 1826 and 1834, which would account for the burial being cited in that same county in Illinois. Finally, and most definitively, the pension application number in both cases - as cited at the top of Lewis Field's pension application and as stated in the information above - are identical. Also, according to both Harrison's work, The Family Forest Descendants, page 3394, and Field's article "Lucie's Genealogy: Field Family - Virginia Branch, 1635-2010", entry for "John Field (1726-1774) & Anna Rogers Clark...", page 3, Lewis Field was married Hannah Lewis in 1787 and died in 1845. To repeat the obvious again, this is definitely the same Lewis Field as is being referred to this post.
The high degree of corroboration evident here as well as the number of corroborations leads the writer of this blog to believe that the burial place of Lewis Field cited in Hamm's work, Soldiers of the American Revolution Buried in Illinois, page 73, is more than likely the correct place of burial for Lewis Field. Golconda is, even today, a small town located on the northern bank of the Ohio River in central Pope County, IL. Again, Lewis Field in his pension application cites that he lived in Pope County, IL between 1826 and 1834, before his final move back to McCracken County, KY, where he was residing at the time of his filing his pension application. So, there is indeed some connection between Lewis Field and this county in far southern Illinois. Pope County, IL is located directly across the Ohio River from Livingston County, KY which, in turn, is directly east of McCracken and Ballard Counties. In other words, it was not a long move for Lewis Field and his family to relocate from Pope County, IL to McCracken County, KY in 1836.
The issue still remains as to why he would move from Pope County, IL to McCracken County, KY in 1834, yet chose to be buried in Pope County, IL at the time of his death in 1845. In the sixty years since the end of the American Revolution and his initial removal to Kentucky, Lewis Field had moved many times but, always within Kentucky, except for his shortest residence of eight years in Pope County, IL between 1826 and 1834. He had spent a total of fifty-two years in his seemingly "adopted" state of Kentucky but, ultimately, chose to be buried in Golconda, Pope County, IL. There are any number of reasons why he may have chosen to do this but, it seems likely to the writer of this blog that his wife may have predeceased him and he wanted to live near family members who would care for him in his declining years. His earlier esidence of eight years may have convinced some of his older children to remain in Pope County, IL and make their lives there. He may have either through invitation or inclination have removed to the locale of these same family members to spend what few months remained of his life after receiving his pension from the United States. At the time of his death in 1845, he was buried near his family members in Pope County, IL. None of the known cemeteries in Golconda, IL have a burial listing for Lewis Field. This may due to the age of the burial or a loss of records for the cemetery but, more than likely it indicates that he was buried on a family farm away from a recognized burying ground. If this is the fact, then the actual burial plot of Lewis Field has most probably been lost to history. But, it is now known to the writer of this blog that Lewis Field was not buried in McCracken or Ballard Counties, KY but, in Pope County, IL, the only residence of Lewis Field outside of the state of Kentucky since he first removed to Kentucky in 1784.
To this date, there has been five posts concerning Lewis Field, all of them revolving around the fact that he witnessed the final flight and capture of the frigate South Carolina on December 20, 1782 off the Capes of the Delaware. But, one last issue has become evident to the writer of this blog and he feels that it should be addressed prior to closing this thread on Lewis Field. In his pension application, "Pension Application of Lewis Field S30413", Lewis Field wrote of the observed chase of the frigate South Carolina in the following terms:
"...after a voyage of forty days they were off the Capes of Delware [sic: Delaware] heard the report of cannon ahead and presently saw the topsails of a ship & in a few minutes three other ships the first of which proved to be the South Carolina 60 gun ship said to be a present from Holland to the State of South Carolina Loaded with flower [flour]. The other three were British frigates he thinks two forty fours & a thirty six. The forty fours one on each side of the S.C. & the 36 under her stern. The Commander of one of the 44s hailed & commanded the Prison ship to follow him. After giving one Broadside the South Carolina struck her colors. And the ship of which he was on board ordered into New York instead of Philadelphia - where they Laid eight days..."
Lewis Field accurately recorded the final, one-sided struggle of the frigate South Carolina against overwhelming British odds - three British men-of-war, HMS Diomede (58 guns), HMS Quebec (38 guns) and HMS Astrea (38 guns). Outgunned, outmaneuvered, and out-sailed, the frigate South Carolina struck her colors in surrender after nearly an eighteen and one-half hour chase. But, during the actual pursuit of the frigate South Carolina, Lewis Field mentions an occurrence that is singular in its reference. After mentioning that the three British men-of-war were one on each side of the frigate South Carolina and one directly under her stern, he states that "...the Commander of one of the 44s hailed & commanded the Prison ship to follow him..." The remainder of the pension application statement seems to indicate that the "Prison ship" obeyed the orders and followed the rest of the pursuing flotilla, being redirected into New York harbor rather than Philadelphia.
Lewis Field, the young scout of George Rogers Clark, who was captured soon after arriving in Kentucky, accurately described the attempted flight and subsequent capture of the frigate South Carolina by the three British men-of-war off the Capes of the Delaware but, clearly relates an incident to which none of the other sources refer - the hailing of the "Prison ship" by "...the Commander of one of the 44s..." In Lewis's work, Neptune's Militia, pages 92-97, relate the details of the chase, capture and subsequent division of the captured crew and marines of the frigate South Carolina for their transportation into New York City harbor. No where in this recitation of the details of the actions that day off the Capes of the Delaware is the "...hailing of the Prison ship...." by "...the Commander of one of the 44s..." ever mentioned. The presence of a fourth British vessel during the action is never mentioned at all in Lewis's work, Neptune's Militia. It may be that Lewis's work, Neptune's Militia, does not mention this incident because it is relatively minor in nature and does not reflect on the British capture of the powerful patriot ship-of-war at all. Also, too, a reference to the ship's logs of the three British men-of-war might well turn up evidence of this event having taken place during the action against the frigate South Carolina. Yet, Lewis Field's pension application cites this event as a fact that in the course of the action against the frigate South Carolina -a fourth British ship joined in the chase of the patriot ship-of-war and then followed the entire fleet, both victorious British and captive American vessels, into New York City harbor. One of the involuntary passengers on board that unnamed British "Prison ship" was the youthful Lewis Field who observed the events related in this post and many, many years later referred to these events in his pension application. He would record these observations and memories of long-ago decades several months before his own death and burial in the vicinity of Golconda, Pope County, IL far, far from the "scene of the related actions". By any estimates, Lewis Field had lived a full and eventful life, dying among friends and family and being buried along the banks of the mighty Ohio River. Rest in peace, Lewis Field....